Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Never Let Me Go

There is a line in Never Let Me Go where the novel's narrator, Kathy, describes the way the students at Hailsham, her private school in the English countryside, are taught about their lives. She says their teachers ("guardians") never revealed so much as to shock or scare the children, but just enough so that they were never surprised by what they heard, like a kid who realizes he knows something, but can't remember where or when he learned it.

Kazuo Ishiguro, the novel's author, is much like Kathy's guardians while we readers are like Kathy. He reveals just enough to keep us hooked and informed, and as we read further and further we learn things we already sort of knew, or at least guessed at. His prose draws us along, pulls us through the novel, and takes us on the literary journey of Kathy's childhood to her present day adulthood.

Reviews of this book tend to be solid--I've seen it recommended on several lists--but some people weren't fans. They wanted more of a "twist," or didn't like the writer's style. There is a twist, but it's less twisty than curvy. I'd say more, but I think this book works best without prior knowledge of what this book is all about. What happens won't necessarily take you by surprise, but it will make you think.

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